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Rev Dr Jo White is new rector for All Saints’ Church in Thornton-le-Dale
THE new rector of All Saints’ Church in Thornton-le-Dale can boast of friends in high places.
Her selection process involved a one-to-one interview with the Archbishop of York and a personal invitation to accept the post from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Rev Dr Jo White went through the unusual procedure as the church had been without a rector for more than nine months and had therefore reverted back to the patronage of the leader of the Church of England.
Originally from Kent, Dr White was brought up in the Roman Catholic church.
“My mother was Roman Catholic but like most teenagers I left the faith and it was only when I went to college at the age of 18, that I made friends with people of my age who were Christians and came back to my faith,” she said.
But it was the Church of England that Dr White turned to, although still not in a regular way. “It was only when I had my first child and my husband, Hilton, was working away and doing shift work that I thought it would be a good idea to give her some routine by taking her to church on Sundays,” she said.
A meeting with a group of men, who had a very different approach to the church, provided Dr White with the revelation to completely change her life.
“There was, and still is, an organisation called The Walk of a 1,000 Men who were walking the Pennine Way and were looking for host people to take the walkers in to stay for a few nights,” she said.
“That experience completely changed my life. There was a joy and excitement about their faith whereas previously I had only really known God and the church in a formal and staid way.”
Dr White went back to college in Manchester where she studied for three years before she was ordained in July 2003 and given her first posting in Derbyshire.
With her husband taking early retirement, the couple began to look for a move to Yorkshire last year.
“We had previously lived in West Yorkshire but were particularly looking to live near the seaside,” Dr White said.
“I visited Thornton-le-Dale twice and on the third time we moved here.”
Dr White said that even before arriving in the village she had already received numerous cards, letters and emails from people in the area.
“They said how pleased they were to hear of my appointment, that they were looking forward to me coming to the village and had put their trust in God that He had found the right person,” she said.
“It has all been very positive and people have been very welcoming – there has been a lovely warm feeling from everyone.”
A service of Collation, Induction and Installation was held at All Saints’ last week followed by Dr White’s first Sunday service.
Her benefice also covers churches in Allerston, Ebberston, Ellerburn and Wilton.